Seed catalogues are a wonderful diversion for me in the cold grip of a northern winter. Flipping through the pages, I fan my tiny flame of hope that spring will indeed arrive. Usually by the beginning of March I have to sit on my hands to keep from starting plants too early for this Montana climate. When our last frost date rolls around by mid May (MAY!) the cloched landscape of my garden betrays my eagerness to get growing. I fall asleep scheming my garden plan, while visions of pickled beets dance in my head.
I’ve been gardening for a couple of decades now and each year I learn something new on a fundamental level that absolutely blows my mind. Sometimes it’s related to the plants themselves, but more often than not it is the life lessons that keep me coming back to work the plot. This year I had zero of that anticipatory buildup to planting. I planned not. If I’m being really honest, I wasn't even sure I was going to plant a garden come May. The spark just wasn’t there, but there is something to be said for going through the motions. Bit by bit the garden got planted and in perfect alignment with favorable aspects to the moon, no less! I think that might be what's called, perfect timing.
Gardening all these years has paid dividends in the knowledge department, as well. Some years are busier than others and this year we decided that if the garden was going in at all it had to be easy. So, we let it be easy. We finally know how to work smarter, not harder. In the end, as cliché as it truly sounds, the work was it’s own reward. Gardening has a funny way of being like that.
After two consecutive warrior weekends everything is in the ground and growing like gangbusters. Conditions were perfect the first few days after transplanting, cooler with periodic rain. Then just like clockwork, an unseasonably warm spell kicked everything up several notches in the germination department. I’ve almost never seen sprouting rates like I have the past two weeks. Let us hope this is an omen of good fertility for the season ahead!
Writing about gardening and gardening, itself are two very different pursuits! My creaky bones and weary muscles are welcoming a little break in the desk chair after working so hard outdoors the past couple of weeks. I am getting reacquainted with muscles I forgot I had (and making pledges to myself about ways to improve my strength and up my gardening game)! I can hardly come up with a more holistic pursuit than growing one's own food as a way to nourish body, mind and spirit. I am so glad I pushed on, stretching past my limits, honoring the power of ritual because just like a seed the smallest intention can sprout into being with a little love and care each day.
Wishing all my readers a bumper crop this year, whatever it is you are growing!